Are you constantly asking yourself, “Why am I depressed?” Maybe you’re overwhelmed by anxiety symptoms. Try as you may, you can’t figure out what’s going on. Could it be your thinking?

As soon as we catch wind of a problem on come the ‘What if’s?’ And, seemingly, there are no limits to our fertile catastrophic imaginations.

A guy sees his dentist for a checkup. He tells her his teeth have been supersensitive and he’s been having headaches and jaw pain.

The doc does the x-ray and exam thing, and tells the guy the cause of his symptoms is bruxism, a chronic clenching and grinding of teeth.

He’s shocked, having no idea he’s been clenchin’ and grindin’. After thinking it over, he knows the diagnosis is correct. And now that he’s sure of the true cause of his misery, he can move on to treatment – and relief.

So it is with depression and anxiety. We so often tolerate them, having no idea what’s at play. However, once we do our honest research, roots are uncovered and intervention and relief can begin.

15 styles of distorted thinking

News flash! If we believe how and what we think don’t significantly contribute to our depression and anxiety, we’re naive.

I want you to carefully consider these styles of distorted thinking – cognitive distortions – and see if anything rings true…

  1. Filtering: Taking the negative details of a situation and magnifying them, while filtering out the positives.
  2. Polarized thinking: Black or white, good or bad. There’s little room for middle ground here, as most everything is perceived in extremes.
  3. Overgeneralization: General conclusions are made based upon a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens, we expect it to happen again and again.
  4. Mind reading: Being sure we know what people are feeling, and why they act as they do – without them telling us. This especially applies to their feelings about us.
  5. Catastrophizing: Disaster is the expect. As soon as we catch wind of a problem on come the “What if’s?” And, seemingly, there are no limits to our fertile catastrophic imaginations.
  6. Personalization: Everything that goes on around us is related to us – some kind of reaction to us. We’re constantly testing our value as a person by measuring ourselves against others.
  7. Control fallacies: This is a distortion of our sense of power and control. If we feel externally controlled, we perceive ourselves as hopeless – a victim of fate. If we feel we’re internally controlled, we feel responsible for the feelings of others.
  8. Fallacy of fairness: We become resentful as we believe we know what’s fair, but others don’t happen to agree. It’s a convenient and self-serving definition of fairness.
  9. Blaming: Holding others responsible for our pain – pure and simple.
  10. Shoulds: We have ironclad rules about how we – and others – “should” act. And when these rules are broken we get angry. When we break them we feel guilty.
  11. Emotional reasoning: It’s an automatic that what we feel has to be true. If we feel, say,  -stupid or boring, we must be stupid or boring. If we feel guilty, we must have done something wrong.
  12. Fallacy of change: Expecting others will change to suit our needs if we apply enough pressure. And this occurs because our hopes for happiness seem to entirely depend upon others.
  13. Global labeling: Generalizing one or two qualities in ourselves and others into a negative global judgment, ignoring all contrary evidence.
  14. Being right: Feeling as though we have to prove that our opinions and actions are correct. Actually, being wrong is unthinkable, and we’ll go to any lengths to demonstrate our rightness.
  15. Heaven’s reward fallacy: We expect all of our sacrifice and self-denial to pay off (as if someone was really keeping score). And we feel bitter when the reward doesn’t come as expected.

Well, there you have ’em. Anything hit home?

By the way, if you’ve identified with one or more of the above, doesn’t it feel at least somewhat comforting to know your style of thinking is recognized – even if it’s distorted?

It always helped me feel much less “psycho-freakish.”

Look for your distorted thinking

“Why am I depressed?” Symptoms of anxiety. Okay, I more than understand why someone would turn to meds for relief.

But I’ll stand by my belief that there’s so much more going on beneath the surface that generates our depression and anxiety.

Look for your distorted thinking.

So many Chipur mood and anxiety info and inspiration articles at your very fingertips. Go ahead, have a look-see.

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